Apart from the new wave prom dance of 'Candles', The Far Field plays out like a treadmill – same tempos, same whining siren wails from the synths, same bass undulation.
Every Valley is certainly an important and timely record, but happily it's also an extremely satisfying and moving one.
Produced differently, A Deeper Understanding could be really startling stuff; as it is, it feels like The War on Drugs have made an agreeable, fan-pleasing album to escape into and hide in, not to a record to take on the world.
Reaching For Indigo, indeed, is awe personified.
The band remain an excellent and vital act, still producing worthy music which is head and shoulders over many similar, lesser acts, the problem, it seems, is that their evolution is a slow one.
This is the best thing Dulli has put his name to since Blackberry Belle.
As a whole, Ruinism is a fine, pleasant sounding record with plenty of little tidbits to enjoy spread across an album full of them. The main issue is that it is a bit "neither here nor there" in places which mean stretches of it are rather forgettable after the running time has evaporated.
There is no doubt listening to Process that Sampha is dealing with a lot. But he is far from defeated – on the contrary, this record appears to be an invaluable opportunity for him to heal.
After three previous albums, Moonshine Freeze is finally the sound of a storyteller of a musician finding her niche. And it is a joy to behold.
The OOZ creates a brutalist and beautiful terrain, one that we can wander vicariously through King Krule; it’s nothing short of a masterpiece.
Lotta Sea Lice won’t totally slake the thirst of the pair’s individual fanbases for new solo work, but what it does do is see them bring out the best in each other. It’s a powerful testament to the possibilities offered up by a genuine creative friendship.
It’s been a while, though, since he served up a real, sit-up-and-listen statement. Here it is. Prisoner isn’t a heartbreak record - it’s potentially the heartbreak record, for my generation at least.
ken’s a grower. It’s not going to immediately colonise one’s affections in the way the best Destroyer records do, but it will slowly get there, even if some will immediately dismiss it as a supposedly 'weak entry' in the Destroyer catalogue.
Throughout Heartworms, Mercer and company prove that their sparse output is well worth the wait. The totality of the record is enough to engulf listeners in myriad textures accomplished via sound and vision.
If we’re being honest, Capacity is simply a better record than Masterpiece. No contest. The catchy songs are catchier; the melodies are tighter; the peaks and troughs dip higher and lower.
Stellular is very much the fulfillment of Dougall’s potential as a songwriter.
Its conceptual limits are conspicuously narrow. Ten love songs about succumbing to men, ten wistful scenes set in old prom slow dances and reconstructed Nashville studios.
To his credit, Max Richter has crafted something that feels like a timeless nod to the past, and yet an inventive ode to Woolf’s modernism. He has followed up the exceptional Sleep with yet another dazzling work that is “full of echoes, of memories, of associations” that celebrate and reflect this towering writer.
Despite its multitude of sideways glances, Pure Comedy isn’t a contemptuous sneer, rather an attempt to dust oneself off and seek control of a ship that’s destined to sink no matter what.
Lust for Life represents the thawing of the ice queen we thought we knew, and the strange death of her American dream. The warmth and humility revealed beneath are all the more thrilling for how well they were kept under lock and key. Human after all.
There are parts of Love What Survives that you’ll want to dive straight back into again ... and then others that are a little more ephemeral. One thing that is true throughout though: Mount Kimbie continue to broaden their scope and push the bounds of we can expect from them as a band.
It really is a rarity to find artists this far into their career, and after such a sustained break, sound so fresh and positive.
Her breathy, ethereal vocal is charged with grief and longing, while the ballsy electro-pop accompaniment drives confidently forward, moulding to her voice.
Ghostpoet’s vocals are delivered in a consistent, mumbled, emotionally-drained understatement throughout, lending the album a sense of authenticity that it could not survive without.
If The Epic was a very large and rich meal then Harmony of Difference is a palate-cleansing sorbet or digestif. On the surface there is nothing unyielding or dense about it and everything flows together wonderfully, but once you start to scratch the surface you discover an EP that is full of hidden melodies and motifs and has enough to charm to make up for its brevity.
There is a scatterbrain feel to this record which means rarely does a song scratch the 4-minute surface, making this a relatively light 33 minutes, however, there is something very exciting in hearing Andrew jump about from point to point in such quick succession without losing his overall focus for the record.
Though Hiss Spun probably won't end up as the best of her career, it may well be Wolfe's best so far.
All-in-all, BSS have made an album that trumps any cynicism that they may have faced, and in the process Hug of Thunder is as hearteningly unguarded and positive a record as you are likely to hear this year.
The album is a perfect portfolio of everything Bicep do best. They’re able to induce euphoria, keep you dancing for hours, give you room to breathe, and then accompany you into a dream-filled sleep.
Whether Colors will be a success within the pop world it is clearly aimed at remains to be seen, but one suspects even pop fans will see through this for it appears to be: an album documenting a mid-life crisis.